Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice Facts:

Pesticides Use and its Health Effects on Children

Pesticide drift - the drifting of pesticides away from their site of application, exposes children in rural or suburban areas to dangerous toxins. Children are in a higher risk group due higher metabolic rates and differences in their ability to activate, detoxify, and excrete xenobiotics (a foreign chemical substance found within an organism that is not normally naturally produced by or expected to be present within that organism). Children generally are at risk for higher exposure than adults due to their play behaviors and diet.The EPA "has not met its obligations and has left rural children vulnerable from pesticide drift". In 2000 and 2001, the EPA started to phase-out home use of certain pesticides that were known to be neurotoxic to children. Despite this phase-out rural populations are still vulnerable to the neurotoxic chemicals that drift from agricultural sites. This failure to protect rural children has disproportionate impacts on children on low-income and communities of color.

The EPA must take more aggressive action to eliminate the double-standard it has created. That is why the petition we have filed on behalf of PSR and others asks EPA to immediately review the most toxic pesticides and protect kids from harmful drift. EPA must complete this work much more quickly than its current schedule of over 10 years. Rural kids must not be subjected to 10 more years of pesticide drift. EPA must also impose spray buffers—proven and recognized by EPA to be effective—between applications of pesticides and children’s homes, schools, and play areas. EPA’s legal and moral obligations to do so are clear. We must protect the most vulnerable of our population from exposures to drifting pesticide poisons.
--(Janette Brimmer and Patti Goldman, "Pesticides in the Air: Kids at Risk")